Category: Consumer & Retail

1
Machines with moral compasses – The ethics of ‘driverless’ cars
2
Ferrari “Testarossa” – The great importance for trademark owners of making proper use of trademarks
3
Judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court in the case of Dior v PPO (Poland)
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The Louboutin red sole – opinion of the Advocate General (case c-163/16 – recap)
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Jury awards profits for infringing sales in post-Samsung design patent case
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How distinctive can a chocolate bar be? After Kit Kat, now it’s Toblerone’s turn
7
U.S. Court finds Adidas’ Stan Smith shoe trade dress protectable
8
A favourable opinion for the owners of exclusive brands – Does selective distribution guarantee that the luxury image of a brand is maintained?
9
If and how to restrict the distribution of bot-programs for online-games – The “World of Warcraft II” Decision, Germany
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Louis Vuitton Seeks Supreme Court Review to Resolve Purported Circuit Split on Trademark Dilution

Machines with moral compasses – The ethics of ‘driverless’ cars

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly permeating our everyday lives from our voice command ‘smart speakers’ (such as Amazon Echo, Siri and Google Home) to the machine learning based recommendations when online shopping or watching Netflix.  As AI becomes increasingly autonomous and accessible, leaders in technology are calling for increased scrutiny and regulatory oversight to ensure society is protected from AI’s implications. Regulatory oversight of AI will need to integrate ethical, moral and legal values in its design process as well as part of the algorithms these systems use. Tech giants are becoming increasingly aware of the need to incorporate ethical principles in the development of AI.  Recently, Amazon, Facebook, McKinsey, Google’s DeepMind division, IBM, and Microsoft have founded a new organisation, the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, to establish best practices in ethical AI.

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Ferrari “Testarossa” – The great importance for trademark owners of making proper use of trademarks

The Düsseldorf first instance district court decided that the trademark of Ferrari has to be cancelled (Decision as of 2 August 2017 – Case no. 2a O 166/16 – juris). However, the decision in not yet final.

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Judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court in the case of Dior v PPO (Poland)

On 4 August 2009, the company Interton sp. z o.o. (“Interton”) applied for the word-figurative trademark “A ADORATION” – goods from class 3 (cosmetics, including eye shadow, lash mascara, lipstick, fluids, makeup foundation, nail polish). The Polish Patent Office granted a protection to the mark (R-235773). Fast forward to 21 June 2017 (and after a number of oppositions and disagreements), the Supreme Administrative Court provided a ruling dismissing the PPO’s decision.

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The Louboutin red sole – opinion of the Advocate General (case c-163/16 – recap)

On 22 June 2017, Advocate General Maciej Szpunar presented an opinion in case C-163/16 concerning a trademark registered for the benefit of the well-known fashion designer Christian Louboutin, in the form of the colour red applied to the sole of a shoe.

In 2010, Louboutin obtained a registration of a Benelux trademark submitted for goods from class 25. This covered shoes (except for orthopaedic shoes), while in 2013, the registration was restricted to high-heeled shoes.

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Jury awards profits for infringing sales in post-Samsung design patent case

On September 29, a jury in California awarded Columbia Sportswear more than US$3.4 million for infringement of its design patent on heat-reflective technology for clothing and outdoor gear.  Columbia accused Seirus Innovative Accessories of infringing its utility and design patents for its wavy lining material, which reflects body heat, but allows for breathability and moisture-wicking. This appears to be the first jury verdict on a design patent after the Supreme Court’s decision in Samsung v. Apple.

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How distinctive can a chocolate bar be? After Kit Kat, now it’s Toblerone’s turn

In newly issued court proceedings, the makers of Toblerone have become the latest confectionary manufacturers to seek to protect the shape of their product via 3D trade mark registrations. Following the recent difficulties Nestlé faced in registering the shape of their Kit-Kat bar, Mondelez have commenced proceedings against Poundland in relation to their newly announced Twin Peaks bar. Twin Peaks bears more than a passing resemblance to a Toblerone, except that each chunk of chocolate features two peaks rather than one.

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U.S. Court finds Adidas’ Stan Smith shoe trade dress protectable

It’s game, set, match for Adidas when it comes to the protectable trade dress in its iconic Stan Smith tennis shoe. In a dispute between Adidas and Skechers over the “Skecherizing” of the Stan Smith shoe, the District Court for the District of Oregon denied Skechers’ motion for summary judgment finding that Adidas could show it has protectable trade dress in its well-known shoe design because the design was recognizable to consumers and not functional. Adidas America Inc. et al. v. Skechers USA Inc., D. Or (August 3, 2017) (order granting in part and denying in part motion for summary judgment).

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A favourable opinion for the owners of exclusive brands – Does selective distribution guarantee that the luxury image of a brand is maintained?

On 26 July 2017, the advocate general of the EU Court of Justice issued a very interesting opinion of benefit to the owners of exclusive brands. The dispute the opinion addresses has been going on for many years between the companies Coty German GmbH (“Coty”) – a leading supplier of luxury cosmetic products in Germany – and Parfümerie Akzente GmbH (“Parfümerie Akzente”) – an authorized distributor of those products. It concerns the possibility of a supplier prohibiting authorized entities involved in further selling in a selective distribution system from using unauthorized third companies.

The EU Court of Justice will have to consider whether, and within what scope, selective distribution systems for luxury and prestige items that primarily ensure the “luxury image” of those goods constitute an element of competition pursuant to Article 101 par. 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

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If and how to restrict the distribution of bot-programs for online-games – The “World of Warcraft II” Decision, Germany

Early in 2017, the German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) rendered a judgment in relation to the distribution of automation software (“bot-programs”) for the computer game “World of Warcraft”. The claimant developed and owns all rights to the popular online computer game “World of Warcraft”, which it distributes on the Internet. Furthermore, he is the owner of the trademarks “WORLD OF WARCRAFT” and “WOW”. To play the game, users have to acquire client software and register on a server. In the course of registration, the user has to accept the general license terms as well as terms of use of the claimant. The terms of use of the claimant prohibit the use of bot-programs by the user.

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Louis Vuitton Seeks Supreme Court Review to Resolve Purported Circuit Split on Trademark Dilution

Louis Vuitton recently petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Second Circuit ruling that certain handbags are fair-use parodies of Louis Vuitton products, and therefore do not give rise to liability for trademark dilution by blurring. In its petition, Louis Vuitton contends there is a split of authority between the Second and Fourth Circuits regarding parody as a fair-use defense to dilution.

Louis Vuitton is the owner of famous trademarks “that immediately bring… to mind Louis Vuitton as the sole source of handbags and other stylish, high-quality goods bearing its marks.” My Other Bag, Inc. offers handbags with images of Louis Vuitton’s famous marks reproduced on one side, and the phrase “My other bag” inscribed on the back.

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